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Alcoholism- Kick it out before it kicks you!

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By: Azhar U Din

“Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness” — Seneca

Demand for alcoholic beverages emerges as one of the most important global addictions and alcohol consumption leads to numerous major problems. A survey conducted by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) has revealed that there are about 16 crore people in India, mainly in the age group of 10-75, are alcohol addicts. It has been found in the survey that the five states of India where there is a maximum prevalence of liquor use are Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, and Goa.

Kashmir is also seeing a surge in the consumption of alcohol even when the majority population in the valley is Muslim and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islam.  Recently some media reports suggested that the Excise department, after a survey, had identified 183 new locations- 116 in Jammu and 67 in the Kashmir valley for the sale of liquor. The department has sought approval for e-auction of sale points from the finance department, the reports had adding. Though there is no clarity about the decision and Jammu and Kashmir Government issued a statement cautioning people to not be misled by ‘misinformation’ adding that it had not taken any policy decision regarding issuance of fresh liquor licenses in unserved areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Finance department has NOT taken any policy decision regarding issuance of fresh liquor licences in unserved areas. NO list of unserved areas has either been considered or approved. No decision will be taken without participation of stakeholders and due process,” tweeted Department of Information and Public Relations, Govt of Jammu & Kashmir.

It is pertinent to mention that the statement came after traders, politicians etc came out strongly against the earlier announcement of opening liquor shops in the UT.

However, alcohol consumption, in any case, is the main cause for many health complications and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), about three million people die globally per year because of the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. The direct effect of alcohol on the lining of the stomach causes hemorrhagic gastritis and peptic ulcer diseases. The most common complication of long-term alcohol is alcoholic liver cancer. According to the study of Bangardi et al., high alcohol consumption increases the vulnerability of cancers of the pharynx, oral cavity, esophagus, and larynx. It has been studied that the consumption of liquor is one important cause for gout a subtype of arthritis.

Besides the health problems, consumption of alcohol gives birth to numerous social issues as well.  A study done by Gururaj G, Isaac MK. had revealed that Suicide rates among women increased by nearly six times who were a spouse of alcoholics. Alcohol consumption also increased the rate of domestic violence of women and children in developing countries like India. Liquor consumption also gives impetus to high divorce cases besides numerous other social imbalances that it causes.

It, therefore, is in the best interest of Kashmir that no liquor shops are opened. Infact those which are operating must also be closed for ensuring a healthy society.

The writer hails from Anantnag and is a student of Geography at AMU ([email protected])

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